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About an adventure timeline...


Hello everyone!

I'm new in the PathFinder world, and actually reading the rules (in French). Meanwhile I'd like to start creating a first adventure for my comrades (they are four in total, and we all are 20+ years old (I'm actually 36)).

My problem is that I'd like to find a link between an "adventure's chapters" and its playing time. I'd like to have that so I know in advance what I should put into the adventure to be able to make my friends play during x hours. I remember when I was a player myself at university, what I hated most was to almost never finish quests because of the playing time timing (generally only the week-end).

So my question would be: how much playing time should I consider for an adventure’s chapter (introduction + search part + combat part + conclusion), taking into account that there will be 4 players, and that it will be the very first time we all play PathFinder (but we're not new at AD&D world)? When I know that, I’ll know how much chapters I can add in a playing session adventure ^^

Are you talking like chapters from, for example, kingmaker, council of thieves etc?

I personally write up my own stuff in chapter format, where each chapter is a sort of mini adventure in the whole campaign. Or a specific place.

Playing time really depends on the play style of the group, my group actually spent an hour in an armourer last night lol.

Based on a quick section of council of thieves i ran, you could make it through the first book in a night potentially.

But as i said, different groups do different things at different speeds.

Thanks for your answer Addicted2Fail. As I'm not sure about what you're speaking about, permit me to give an example of what I have in mind:

let's say that the group has to find the culprit of a murder in a town X. They'll have to check the murder scene first and find hints. There they'll have their first main fight. Then with the hints they'll know that they'll have to go to town Y. They will then start their travel, where the second main encounter will occur. Finally, they'll reach town Y where they'll have to find the hiding place of the culprit, so looking for hints again and make their third big fight. Finally, as they find the culprit hide place, they'll fight him in the final fight.

That would make four chapters:
1) Investigation in town X
2) Journey to town Y
3) Investigation in town Y
4) Final fight

If I want to make that possible in one night, let's say a 8 hours of straight playing (that would make about 2 hours per chapter), how should I build each chapter? May I add additional “secondary” fights, or should I keep only the main fight of each chapter? To tell you my level of knowledge, I don't even know how much time would take a single combat with a lone monster ^^,

Well you would need to think of each session as an individual senario, with a tight timeline. So would would have to speed things up. Have a timelimit - and if the players fall behind you need to be able to skip parts of the senario.

For instance 8 hour play - you have divided the senario up in 4 parts 8as your last post).

The players take their sweet time investigating town X - so you skip the journey to town Y - now they players have a litle more time to investigate town Y - but they are behind in XP - so you reward them quest Xp at the end of the session, and add a little extra loot (players wanna want their loot).

You need to prepare to railroad the players if they get behind schedule.
perhaps they don't get to find the BBEG - but he has spies that tell hiim about adventures that a sniffing about - so he goes to the players to finish them off.
Now railroading is generaly a bad thing, and other option would be to tell the players about a timelimit - the BBEG is on the move and they need to be fast or he'll get away - they can't use hours going shopping for items (do that between sessions) and they when they use 10 minutes arguing about what top do speed up time ingame - you just used an hour...

Now parthfinder and D&D is designed for 3-4 encounters a day - or they players can just go nova in the one fight they have - so if you only have time for 1 or two fight in a session there's a few things you need to consider.
a) make the encounters bigger (this will take more time, but once you are in combat mode it's better to add a few extra monsters - they might hear the first figh an come a few rounds later, than have to discribe the setting, roll initiatibe, an so on).
b) make the encounters matter - with a timelimit you don't really have time for a random encounter - when ever they have to fight it's gonna be important (unless they are ahead of schedule - then you can add a little extra).
c) they players will be less pressed with only 1-2 encounter pr day. thing about boosting the encounter - not just by adding more monsters, but a debuffing effect to two, or give the BBEG and extra level.

Adventure Path Charter Subscriber

Combats with single opponents normally last between 2 and 5 rounds (unless there are special circumstances like terrain or invisibility or something). With relatively new players I'd say about a minute per person per round, so that would make between 15 and 30 minutes for the combat. If there are more opponents this goes up a little ofcourse.

investigation is an entirely different thing. depending on whether the PCs ask the right questions/search the right spots this can be done in 5 minutes or could take more then an hour. Sometimes something you think is obvious while creating the adventure will not occur to the players.

You will get a better idea of timing/planning once you played a few sessions with the group, but for the first ones your guess is as good as mine.

Sorry I can't be of any more help

by hte way, are you from Belgium (the BE in your name), if so, it's nice to see a countryman on these forums



Silver Crusade

It really depends on your group and play style. It may just take some time to figure things out.

A good rule of thumb would be the Pathfinder Society Adventures. They usually have 3 (maybe 4) fights and are expected to last about 4 hours. Depending on your group and the type of fight that may take more or less time.

I have had groups blow through ten fights in the same time it took them to do one fight. Usually, the higher the level the longer (real time) a fight will take.

My advice is to build how many fights you think you might need plus a couple more. If you are running out of time then just skip some fights and bring the group to the final fight. If you have extra time then put extra fights in as needed.

Thank you all very much for your advices! About all I've read those points will be very useful:

1) remember the players about the timeline when needed (I didn't even think about that solution! Why has only the GM to be stressed by the deadlines?! ^^)

2) keep some small fights in reserve in case of a chapter goes too fast

3) foreseen some part of each chapters I could remove to speed things up (probably the most important advice for me ^^)

Also, thank you very much Bart and Karkon for the fights estimations. It will be very useful when I'll create the scenario! :)

PS: Bart, yes indeed, I'm from your country ;) But reading your name, I would say that I'm more "from the south" :) I'll PM you more details, in case of we wouldn't be so far from each other ^^

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